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Shopify vs Magento 2

Choosing the most suitable eCommerce platform for creating, managing and maintaining an online store is the critical decision to make, as it can result in either success or failure for business.

Shopify and Magento are two of the most popular eCommerce platforms. They’re often compared with each other but in fact, they are very different. There are a lot of debates on whether you should choose Magento and take your store to the next level, or if you should go for Shopify and sidestep all the technical hassles and just get on with your online business. The main differences between these platforms that we should be aware of before making a comparative evaluation are:

  • Shopify is a commercial and paid product while Magento Open Source is a free, open-source software (in fact both platform has paid enterprise versions - Shopify Plus and Magento Enterprise - however, it’s totally different e-commerce level - meant only for mid-large enterprises that can spend some amounts of dollars on a website and license per month).
  • Shopify is a self-hosted solution while Magento requires providing your own hosting, install, setup and configuration of everything before starting to create a store – actions requiring medium to high level of web development and programming skills.
  • Shopify is rather more for beginners, has simple user interface, while Magento has many features which are more suitable for advanced developers.

Main Features

  • Inventory Management - While inventory management is available on both platforms, Magento allows you to add as many products as possible. Shopify, on the other hand, limits you in adding products based on the plan you choose but has the option of direct integration to dropshipping inventory apps.
  • Shipping Charges Calculation - Both platforms allow flexible options for the calculation of shipping charges, which is one of the most basic and essential aspects of selling products through eCommerce storefront.
  • Discounts and Coupon Codes - Magento have OOTB (out-of-the-box) function to create discounts and coupon codes. In starter Shopify plan this option is not available and it’s required to purchase a higher plan.
  • Themes and Templates - Both Shopify and Magento offer a large selection of themes and templates. The number of free themes provided by Shopify is significantly smaller than in Magento. The free themes have many limitations but you also can purchase premium themes on both platforms.
  • Payment Gateway Options - Shopify beats Magento in this matter. It gets advantage over competition with over 70 payment gateways while Magento supports significantly lower number of gateways. However, more gateways can be added to Magento store by using third-party add-ons. The catch in Shopify is that it encourages to go with its built-in payment gateway. The reason is that Shopify's gateways have 0% transaction fees, while third-party gateways are paid.
  • Multi-Languages Support - Magento has a built-in multi-lingual support what gives an advantage over Shopify which does not offer full multi-language capabilities. To create a fully multi-lingual stores there are available third-party/paid apps for Shopify. Another option is to custom code theme so that it has multilingual capabilities but it’s required to have an expert development skills to do this.
  • SEO Capabilities - Both platforms offer powerful SEO options in order to help you drive more traffic to your store through search engines, being at very similar level on extensive SEO features and benefits.
  • Blogging functionality - Basic blogging options are available as an integrated feature in Shopify. In Magento it can be achieved by means of some developer skills. The Magento blog will offer much more options of customization than what it’s provided in Shopify.

The Costs

  • Setup fees - In Shopify there are not any setup fees, they even offer a 14-day free trial with which you can test and evaluate its functionalities and features. Magento setup fees do not exist because it is totally free to use (except of own hosting costs).
  • Monthly fees - As mentioned earlier, Magento is free, but requires own hosting, which it may be considered as monthly fee in that case. Cost may vary from a few $ to thousands $ per month. In Shopify Case it’s necessary to choose plan with monthly fee. It has available three main options: Basic for 29$/month, Regular for 79$/month and Advanced 299$/month.
  • Bandwidth charges - You don’t have to pay for any bandwidth usage fees in Shopify. In Magento Open Source this will depend on the chosen hosting provider.
  • Transaction fees - Magento Open Source does not charge transaction fee other than the gateway provider fee (varying from gateway to gateway). These fees are applicable for Shopify as well. In Shopify when utilizing any other gateway or method than their own payment gateway - the transaction fee structure is presented like that: Basic Shopify Plan ($29/month) - 2%, Regular Shopify Plan ($79/month) - 1% and Advanced Shopify Plan ($299/month) - 0.5%.
  • Themes / Templates prices - Both platforms offer a good number of free as well as paid themes, with Shopify prices starting at 1$ and Magento premium theme prices starting at about $80.

Performance and Speed

Speed and performance are two of the most important factors that account for the success of an eCommere store. Users surely prefer doing the shopping on quick-loading stores so that they can browse swiftly, decide, and buy products with ease and comfort and don’t waste time on unnecessary waiting for website to load. Stores that suffer slow speed and high-loading times usually result in loss of users and customers.

There are two factors responsible - first is how long the server takes to respond, and second is how long the page takes to render in the browser.

Shopify’s infrastructure has a slightly better response time (609 milliseconds vs 967 milliseconds average server response time on Magento), but for the more important delay before page content appears there is little difference between the platforms (2.6 seconds for Shopify vs 2.8 seconds for Magento).

However, the larger Shopify stores install lots of third party apps, which can increase the script load time, and so the time to full page load is higher on larger Shopify stores (6.8 seconds vs 6.0 seconds on Magento).

Security

Online store optimization and overall caution determines how secure you are. Tens of thousands of websites are hacked daily, so using reliable security updates and plugins are the best practices to ensure your website safe and well protected.

Magento gives the flexibility to keep an eye on security, but that mostly means added responsibility - you’ll have to take care of it all by yourself. Security level here can be as tight and powerful as you intend it to be because you have full control in this case. Also Magento regularly sends patches and updates to keep your store secure and up to date.

Ease Of Use

Both Magento and Shopify share excellent user-interfaces with a lot of options to play around with and do what you need to do with running an online store.

If we are considering the matter of easiness of use, one platform beats the other significantly. Shopify takes a lead in this case - the Wizard mode allows a beginner user without coding knowledge set up a store without greater effort. Magento may give more flexibility when it comes to what can be done with webstore, but it’s required to have experience and knowledge on how to go through customization process.

When it comes to convenience and ease of use - Shopify is much simpler and is a better choice in this aspect.

Support

Support is one of the most important elements when running webstore, no matter which CMS you have chosen. Lack of well-established support system might result in facing serious issues for which you will not have a solution.

Magento has a vast worldwide community that provides support and solutions for many users. Magento platform is used by hundreds of thousands of merchants and there are frequently organized events that take place around the world. This all means an enormous support for the platform and always available solutions to all your Magento related issues.

Shopify is also gaining a lot of interest and more and more merchants starts using this platform. However, for an expanded support system it’s required to buy their premium plans.

Conclusion

Shopify and Magento are both powerful eCommerce platforms. Shopify provides much greater ease of use since it is a hosted and fully managed service. Magento, while free of costs itself, requires you to provide hosting and all the software setup and installation procedures yourself – something that needs specific knowledge and skills (things that typical end-users wouldn’t be able to do by themselves).

Choosing the right platform is highly dependent on your needs and requirements - if you are a beginner you would rather go for Shopify. Magento will be suitable for more advanced users.